How will Tottenham line-up under Villas-Boas?
With Andre Villas-Boas newly appointed as Harry Redknapp’s successor at White Hart Lane, Spurs fans will be looking forward to the former Porto boss stamping his own identity on the team, both tactically, and of course in the Summer transfer window. But what can we expect from the man who succeeded so well in Portugal, before coming unstuck at Chelsea?
At both Porto and Chelsea Villas-Boas has been most comfortable playing a loose 4-3-3 formation, with one central midfielder slightly deeper than the accompanying two, and with one main striker supported by two forwards linking midfield and attack, whilst also providing some width.
After taking over at Porto, Villas-Boas led his side to an unbeaten league campaign, winning the Primeira Liga by 20 points - on top of that, his side also won the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League. Whilst he didn’t have too much time to build his team there the identity was clear. Radamel Falcao was the main striker, flanked by forwards to either side, Silvestre Varela and Hulk. Central midfield saw Fernando playing in the deeper central role, with two more creative midfielders just ahead in Joao Moutinho and Fredy Guarin.
The same formation was used at Chelsea: Didier Drogba the lone striker, supported by Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata, whilst Frank Lampard and Ramires created in midfield, with Michael Essien, Raul Meireles or John Obi Mikel in the defensive midfield spot.
So what does Villas-Boas have to work with already at Spurs, and who could he be planning to bring in? It is clear that at present, there is no striker at the club able to fulfil the lone striker role, with Emmanuel Adebayor having returned from his loan period to Man City. Should he return, he would suit the role well, as would another name mentioned recently, in Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao.
In the attacking roles behind the striker, Rafael van der Vaart would be perfectly suited, playing a similar role for Spurs over the past two years. In addition, Gareth Bale is known to want to have more freedom in attacking positions, and this would give him the wing and a place behind the striker where he can be at his most effective. In central midfield, two creative passers are needed, with Scott Parker a possibility in this role, as is Gylfi Sigurdsson. Alongside him, Andre’s key man at Porto, Joao Moutinho, is a genuine possibility to directly replace Luka Modric if reports are to be believed. Needless to say, he would suit the role perfectly.
In the defensive midfield position, Sandro has much support among Tottenham fans, and this role clearing up behind the central midfield would add real strength to the team, as well as freeing the likes of Moutinho to go forward. In defence, Jan Vertonghen is a key purchase, to start alongside either Younes Kaboul or Michael Dawson.
If the right signings are made, key players are retained or replaced and the dressing room remains content, Spurs fans could be seeing more of a Villas-Boas side a la Porto, rather than the stuttering Chelsea version.
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